Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna, a high school senior, is going to have the best senior year ever — prom, making memories with best friends before going off to college and quality time with the guy she is crushing on— until her bestselling author of a father decides to ship her off to a boarding school in Paris so she can have a little culture; or so he can prove that he is something big as Anna postures. Now she will be spending her last semester before college at a school with people she doesn’t know and in a city that speaks a language she can’t speak—with her friendships and crushes put on hold at home. Will the City of Lights provide her with the romance, the friends and those life-molding experiences that she doesn’t realize she needs?

Anna and the French Kiss has that certain “je ne sais quoi”an intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive (thanks Wikipedia!). Or, according to my boyfriend who wooed me in the beginning of our relationship with his advanced French skills from high school, that “somethin’-somethin’ that you just can’t explain.” Anna and the French Kiss sure has got that somethin-somethin I just can’t explain. I secretly judged this book when it was popping up around the blogosphere. I thought, “Please, even a  francophile who lusts over the Eiffel Tower like I do, will not give into this cover or this title. ” I really did. It was horrible of me. But, after hearing great things from those whose opinions I respect and hold highly (I’m looking at YOU Steph Su), I decided to take a chance and at least feel comforted that it was set in  Paris—a city that certainly was more than hospitable and charming to me. Anna was a book that quickly captivated my heart, despite my reservations, and I couldn’t turn back—it was like falling head-over-heels in love without realizing what was happening. It wasn’t love at first sight–it was a softening of the heart, turned sweaty palms and palpitations, turned “Oh my gosh, I think I’m in love.”

I like a good romance in a book. I’ve grown weary of some things I’ve seen in books lately– unrealistic hastiness in falling in love without knowing someone (yes, sometimes it DOES happen but I’m sick of it being in every book), unhealthy relationships, and “he’s sooo perfect” mentality that never is challenged. Yes, I do love reading about Prince Charmings but thinking that a guy is flawless and doesn’t ever act like a moron is setting yourself up for unrealistic expectations. Makes it harder to accept a guy in real life if you keep those unrealistic expectations in your head. I like my fictional boys like the rest of ya’ll but I’d like to see somebody real once in a while. Enter St. Clair. Minus the English accent that makes my knees wobbly, he’s your average guy. He’s interesting enough but certainly not Mr. Rennassaince man. He doesn’t know how to handle his feelings for Anna and he acts downright stupidly sometimes and the boy has teenage hormones. He’s normal but oh-so-swoonworthy! I love how Perkins created this romance between he and Anna. It was perfectly executed for my tastes, albeit at sometimes super drama-filled, but there was depth to their feelings for one another and I appreciated that. I liked that friendship was the cornerstone of their relationship despite their attraction to each other.

I loved being in Anna’s head. I though this was one thing Perkins really did brilliantly. She was authentically teenager to me. It wasn’t contrived and she didn’t seem like she was plucked straight from Leave It To Beaver. She was mature, had values, used common sense, a big heart but she was a high school girl– held grudges, got overly emotional sometimes and let a boy turn her into an idiot sometimes. I LOVED ANNA. She rocked. She was a good friend to St. Clair despite her feelings for him and she learned lessons the hard way. I loved seeing Paris through her eyes. Speaking of Paris, I enjoyed living vicariously through Anna and St. Clair. It reminded me of my fascination with the movie Passport to Paris (MK & Ashley Olsen anyone?) when  I was a young girl. It made me giddy and resulted in me dumping out all my pictures from Paris and sigh longingly for another Parisian adventure for myself.

My final thought: Anna was a light, romantic read that will delight readers of contemporary YA. It’s full of unforgettable characters, explores intricacies in romantic, familial and frienship relations, and is filled with a good dose of drama and fun in the City of Lights. Le sigh. If you are typically a reader of adult fiction that rarely steps into the YA territory, I’d caution you that this book does tend to read like a high school girls mind—complete with OMGs and all that jazz but definitely not nearly as annoying. I wouldn’t recommend this for someone looking for a YA read like The Book Thief or other more complex YA novels. But for all you readers of YA—this is a must read! I truly can’t explain what exactly it is about Anna but I can assure you that you will find yourself smitten. It’s that je ne sais quoi.

 

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    Awwww I'm so glad you loved it :) great review, Jamie!

  2. I loved this book as well! I agree completely that being in Anna's head was one of the best parts, and I also loved Anna and St. Clair's romance. Awesome review! :)

  3. Ashley in Adventureland :) says:

    Wonderful review! :) I, too, have a slight Parisian obsession, formed early on thanks to the Olsen girls! I have always been smitten by the scene where they are dining on the roof with the PERFECT view of Paris :)

  4. I have been obsessed with Paris since I was a kid! I actually watched the movie, Passport to Paris multiple times lol. I was kind of uninterested in the book at first because I don't like romances so much.But after reading so many positive reviews, I finally bought it recently. Can't wait to read it!

  5. Christina/Book Addict says:

    Great review, Jamie! I was definitely smitten with this book as well. It was one of my favorites of 2010. I'm a sucker for romance in Paris. I'm loving your Paris photo too….very cool!

  6. I loved Anna soooo much! You are absolutely right in the fact that the characters weren't plucked out of Leave it to Beaver (which is an awesome quote btw) and acted like real teenagers. This will definitely be a re-read for me. Awesome review Jamie!

  7. Glad you enjoyed ANNA. I loved it! I think Perkins is going to become one of my favorite authors along side the likes of Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

    here via CEP

  8. Lol, I went a bit booksnob over the title and cover as well.. But it seems I'm going to have to check it out after all, it sounds really cute! Love the pictures of the Eiffel tower by the way :)

  9. You know, about 2 minutes ago, I felt the same way you did about this book. I thought it was going to to be stupid and why bother?

    But then I read your review.

    Now, I need to go get this book. The way you described it, is exactly what I want in a book right now! I'm tired of all the perfect guys and impossible romances. I want something real. I want THIS BOOK.

    So thank you. Thank you for writing an awesome review that managed to change my mind about a book. (And trust me, that's NOT an easy thing to do.)

    :D

  10. Jessi E. (The Elliott Review) says:

    I've been avoidin this book because the cover makes it look way too fluffy for me (not the best method of judgment, I know), but your review has made me consider it because you mention that it is realistic and that you love Anna's personality. Those are always things that make me love a book… So … thank you!

  11. Oh lord, I have seriously got to get my hands on this one! Every positive review just has me drooling, and I'll cop to actually loving the title and cover… they just make me feel happy! Thanks for a great review!

  12. Rebecca-Books says:

    I really want to read this book, it's getting ridulous. And yes, I used to love Passport to Paris with the Oslen Twins…
    Actually, I loved all their movies…

  13. I couldn't have said it better myself. I, too, was put off by the ridiculous cover and title…but then fell in love with this book!

  14. Oooh, I do love Paris. Hmmm… this might be one I need to pick up.

  15. Kristen @ Daemon's Books says:

    This sounds great! I don't think I can resist a Paris romance. I can't wait to read it.

  16. I just wrote up my review of Anna last night! It's one of those books that can be hyped up from here to China, and will still be just as a amazing when you read it. I am dying to read more from Perkins. Great review!:)

  17. Hi, just stopped by to give you a Stylish Blogger Award!
    http://jaysbooksandotherthings.blogspot.com/2011/01/stylish-blogger-award.html
    :)

  18. Oui! Loved Stephanie Perkins' writing style. It was oh-so-relatable. Loved your review!

  19. It's funny how some people didn't want to read this book because of the cover of the title. I saw glowing reviews about it even before it was released so I knew it was going to be a good one. I wasn't disappointed. :) I think most of us enjoyed reading the book because it was so realistic. You can totally relate to both Anna and St. Clair and what they went through to be together.

  20. Collect Dreams says:

    I may just have to read this now :-) also may I just say that I really do enjoy reading your blog :-) its awesome!

  21. I am so glad you got past your initial judgments and decided to read ANNA. I'm so happy that loved it. This book is simply amazing. And I think your review does a great job of summarizing how lots of bloggers feel about it.

  22. Now that I've read and reviewed it, I can finally read your post. YAY! I loved this book and I'm so glad that you did, too! I'm not sure that it's possible to hate it. It made me want to pack my bags and head to Paris.
    I loved that one of the major themes of the novel is that just because you're with someone and you love that persona and they love you, doesn't always mean that they are right for you. You don't often find that in books these days.
    Also, I think one of my favorite characters was the old man with the dog who ran the movie theatre. He was charming.

  23. Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com says:

    Wow. I must read this asap.

  24. I’m so sad that I just finished this one. :( Etienne is dreamy. Loved this book! Thanks for the recommendation!

  25. so okay it’s me again :) I just commented on your post about Most Anticipated YA Books 2013… yepp that’s me. Just wanna say this is a great review! Does the book justice. And and and I just read your short little autobiographical paragraph or whatever on the sidebar, one of the words you use to describe yourself just seriously made me want to cry—francophile. Seriously, that’s me, too! I love anything French, anything!! Okay. I’m blabbering again. But thank you :) I think you’re amazing

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I didn’t actually read this in a day but if I would have had the free time..I could have [...]

  2. [...] Anna from Anna and the French Kiss: Yes, please, I want to go run around Paris for 24 hours (ok, more than 24 hours really). But Anna [...]

  3. [...] Anna & The French Kiss Inspired Date [...]

  4. [...] know my love for Anna & The French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door. If Stephanie Perkins was a boy band and I was teen Jamie in the [...]

  5. [...] 7. Anna & St. Clair from Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss: This one is so hard because their relationship truly starts off in a way I don’t like but I couldn’t help love the two of them together before they got together. I love though the reality that sometimes you make mistakes and do stupid things but love can prevail. And I loved watching it blossom through the streets of Paris. (Review of Anna and the French Kiss) [...]

  6. [...] guys! You know how much I love Anna and the French kiss, yes? Remember my crazypants review of it and how I even posed with it randomly? Why? I don’t know..why not? My love affair with that [...]

  7. [...] WHAT on auto-buy. I just know she is going to do other genres well. Check out of my reviews of Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next [...]

  8. Top Ten says:

    […] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins — I see this as an adorable movie with a great setting and really I just want to see St. Clair on the big screen. LET’S BE HONEST. […]

  9. […] Likely To Be Fought Over Probably Dimitri from Vampire Academy or St. Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. I see LOTS of people always claiming them a fictional crush. I’d fight too! PUT EM […]

  10. […] Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: I LOVED this book and I’ve been waiting not so patiently for Isla and the Happily Ever After so I figured it would be fun to reread this one because I adored it — despite my adversity to it at first because of the cover. […]

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